Ray on Diakiese: “I need to see more than cockiness.”

Scottish lightweight Stevie Ray has left the door open to an all-British grudge match with Marc Diakiese, but insists the unbeaten prospect from Doncaster must raise the level of his competition if the fight is to happen anytime soon.

Ray and Diakiese, two talented UFC contenders proudly flying the Union Jack, both became embroiled in a heated war of words on social media recently and the exchange led to calls for the pair to settle their dispute in the Octagon.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ray, however, though receptive to the fight, ultimately feels it’s some way off.

“It could possibly happen,” he told Fighters Only. “I feel like the only way it can happen soon, though, is if I lost a few and he took a step up and got a big win. I feel like I’m a step ahead of him right now. He hasn’t fought anybody of the same calibre of the guys I’m fighting.

“He got a good knockout in his last fight, but he was fighting a guy (Teemu Packalen) who was 1-1, a guy nobody had really heard of. And he was a jiu-jitsu guy.

“He was able to knock out a jiu-jitsu guy and then he went around thinking he was ‘The Man’. I understand he’s undefeated and stuff, and that’s the cockiness of an unbeaten fighter coming out, but I need to see more than just cockiness.”

The Scotsman’s stance is rooted in some truth. After all, less than two months ago, he won a decision against Joe Lauzon. Before that, in November, he defeated a one-time winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Ross Pearson, over three rounds in Belfast. Add those breakout wins to the scalps of Mikael Lebout, Leonardo Mafra and Marcin Bandel, all of which he obtained in consecutive fights, and it’s easy to see why Ray is telling Diakiese, a man three years his junior, to catch up.

“He’s in the back of my mind,” confirmed Ray, 21-6, whose next fight comes against American Paul Felder in Glasgow, Scotland on July 16. “In fact, he’s not even in the back of my mind. If he beats someone who is actually worth mentioning, that fight can happen down the line. But the only person I’m focusing on right now, the only person on my mind, is Paul Felder, my next opponent.”

Although a fight seemingly too tasty for it not to happen, it might be some time yet before we see Stevie Ray and Marc Diakiese trade strikes instead of 140-character putdowns.